Academics are easily flattered by talk about "knowledge management" and the "knowledge society." They often think this phrase highlights the central role of universities in society. In fact, it signals the opposite--that the wider society itself is a hotbed of knowledge production, over which universities do not enjoy any special privilege or advantage.
This has caught academics off-guard, because they have traditionally treated knowledge as something pursued for its own sake, regardless of cost or consequence. Now they face increasing global pressure to open universities to the wider public, typically for reasons unrelated to the pursuit of pure knowledge. Today's universities are expected to function as dispensers of credentials and engines of economic growth.